‘Everything I loved about my visit to Hong Kong and why I’ll go back’

Oct 12, 2019
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Hong Kong by night. Source: Wendy Portlock

Last November at the end of our cruise from Tokyo we stayed nine days in Hong Kong. My husband’s father, Harry, had always dreamed of going and even though Mum and Dad travelled in their 60s Hong Kong never eventuated. It was their 65th wedding anniversary that month, so we suggested they fly from Adelaide direct to Hong Kong and we would spend that time together.

We stayed at the Marco Polo on Canton Road. It’s close to transport and because many of the people in Hong Kong speak English, we knew Mum and Dad would be fine.

As beautiful a place as Hong Kong was at the time, we had to ensure we didn’t book too many activities for Mum and Dad. They are in their 80s, so we planned things day on, day off.

We’d booked a bus tour the first day to give us the history of the colonisation of Hong Kong and where the sea originally came and we finished the day with a tram ride up to the Victoria Peak — an iconic natural wonder with a uniquely spectacular perspective of the city — and back to our hotel. Unfortunately the weather was not good and the tram was not running.

We went to a jewellery manufacturer and also the Stanley Markets — a street market on Hong Kong Island with an interesting array of shops selling silk garments Chinese costume jewellery, souvenirs and art — and had a ride on a boat to see all the house boats where families still fish and live. It was very exciting for Mum and Dad and they enjoyed it greatly.

On the harbour. Source: Wendy Portlock

We ended up taking the bus up to Victoria Peak and Harry was amazed at how he could see buildings with bamboo scaffolding and workers on it. He marvelled at how strong it was, though we could see it swaying in the breeze.

At the rear of the Marco Polo is a mall and we found a lovely Thai-Chinese restaurant for dinner. Mum and Dad had never experienced such cuisine before, so were apprehensive about what to order. My husband, David, and I were quite surprised to learn this. When the waitress came to take our order, she helpfully suggested that they shouldn’t order too much. She was right! The food was so fresh and full of flavour, we returned every night.

Wendy’s mother- and father-in-law celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in Hong Kong. Source: Wendy Portlock

I’ve always loved Hong Kong. It saddens me that travellers need to exercise a high degree of caution to travel there now, what with the protests and violent clashes being unpredictable. When we visited, I was delighted by this modern city, steeped in ancient history and diverse in culture. It’s well worth exploring! It was wonderful that Mum and Dad enjoyed their visit as much as my husband and I did.

We took the ferry to Hong Kong’s Observation Wheel. At 60 metres high, it’s a great place to get a stunning view of the Victoria Harbour. The wheel has 42 luxurious cabins (called gondolas) that comfortably seat about eight people.

We also took the hop-on, hop-off bus around Hong Kong, which allowed us to see many of the traditional temples, historic colonial sites, architecture, shops, bars, and markets. Mum and Dad were given a complimentary upgrade because it was their wedding anniversary, something we were very grateful for.

David and Harry sat on the top of the double-decker bus, while Mum and I saw the sites from below. Mum’s a bit unsteady on her feet these days and the stairs were pretty tight. It didn’t matter that we were separated because we all had headphones on so that we could listen to the commentary.

We were able to visit the Victoria Peak again, this time dropped at the tram where our VIP tickets had us at the front of the line in no time. Mum and Dad sat at the front. Riding the tram is an experience on its own. We marvelled the at the number of skyscrapers we passed on our way to the top.

If there is only one thing you do in Hong Kong, I’d recommend visiting the Peak. It’s the highest point of Hong Kong Island. On a clear day, which it was this time, you can see our across the skyscrapers and Victoria Harbour to the green hills of the New Territories.

Hong Kong is also a great place for shopping and boy, did I shop! Many of the specialty stores had sales and I got most of my Christmas shopping for my children done.

Christmas trees all lit up in Hong Kong. Source: Wendy Portlock

Speaking of Christmas, Hong Kong loves this festive season. Many of the store windows were done up with displays, Christmas lights, trains, polar bears, Christmas trees. It was a thrill to be there and see it all.

The Ladies’ Market is in Kowloon and if you’re looking for clothing, accessories and souvenirs, this is the place to be. This market has more than 100 stalls on the street selling everything a woman could possibly want. It got its name from the large amount of clothing and accessories for women on sale, but you’ll also find watches, cosmetics, home furnishings, music and trinkets to take home with you. Just be prepared for crowds — it can get quite busy.

Of course going to Hong Kong and not having something tailor made is ridiculous, so Dad had a couple of pairs pants made up and I picked some fabric for him and we paid for a shirt to be made too. David had a beautiful jacket made, using the same design as a jacket we had brought with us on the trip.

Before we knew it the week had flown by and we were helping pack Mum and Dad pack their bags and put some of what I had bought in there luggage.

I hope the unrest in HOng Kong eases soon. Hong Kong is such a beautiful place to visit and we’d like to get back there soon.

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Have you travelled to Hong Kong? Is it a destination still to be ticked off your bucket list?

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